Hotel breakfast is something that is truly special. From eggs benedict to freshly squeezed juices, I love breakfast and it’s even better when it’s served free of charge. Over the past few years, I’ve tried breakfast at different hotel brands all over the world, and I decided it was time to dive into the research and create a comprehensive list of every major hotel that offers a free breakfast.
In this article, I will go over all the brands that offer free breakfast to each and every guest. Then I’ll discuss ways you can get free breakfast through elite status and special booking portals offered by your credit cards.
Continental breakfast vs buffet breakfast vs à la carte breakfast
There are three common types of breakfast: continental, buffet, and à la carte breakfast.
All three are offered by hotels worldwide. Some hotels might only offer one type of breakfast, like only offering continental breakfast, while others might offer all three different types of breakfast for free, as an upgrade, or paid.
Continental breakfast is commonly served at select branded properties, also known as value brands like Holiday Inn Express or Comfort Inn. A continental breakfast might only offer items like cereals, milk, bread, scrambled eggs, meat, and fruits.
Continental breakfasts won’t usually offer an omelet or pancake station, but some properties will offer an automatic pancake maker or waffle iron. Lots more cold items are usually offered than hot items for continental breakfast.
Continental breakfasts might be given for free to everyone at a hotel or to select elites. It all depends on the property for the quality of continental breakfast as some might offer a spread that is crazy good while others won’t offer more than the bare minimum.
While this might be a little confusing, as continental breakfast is usually served as a buffet, buffet breakfast will typically serve many different types of items.
Many different hot and cold items are offered. Usually, you will be able to find what you like so you aren’t stuck with eating cereal. There will usually be an egg station to make any types of eggs, sometimes even eggs benedict. There should also be other stations like live pancake and waffle stations. Sometimes you can even find sushi!
There are many different items offered when you have a buffet breakfast, but as always, it will differ between each property, even within the same brand.
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À la carte breakfast
À la carte breakfasts are my favorite as every dish is made to order. Some hotels will offer a la carte breakfast to complement the buffet. So, there might be some items at the buffet but you can still order off a menu.
Menus can range from a few items on a menu, like specialty dishes, to a menu that offers 10 or 20 different options.
Some hotels, like the Alila SCBD, will only offer a menu without a buffet. It just depends on what property you stay at as each property will differ.
Coronavirus update (grab and go)
Due to the pandemic a lot of hotels are now offering a restricted version of their breakfast. In some hotels this means a modified buffet while in others it means more of a grab-and-go situation.
I’ve visited hotels that have a staff member serving different items so that the only real difference is that you are not serving yourself at a buffet counter. Meanwhile, other hotels have offered packaged items including hot items like scrambled eggs and potatoes.
To be honest the grab and go items have not been so great but if you just need a little bit of fuel in the form of fruit or items like muffins they can be helpful. My advice would be to call the hotel ahead of time to check on their latest breakfast procedures.
Hotel brands that have free breakfast
Each brand is created differently. Some will offer free breakfast worldwide, while some won’t offer free breakfast worldwide. Some brands we know and love might have exceptions in some regions of the world.
There are 6,906 Marriott hotels worldwide with 30 Marriott brands. You can easily find luxury and premium Marriott properties with a good amount of select properties in the Americas. Out of the 30 brands, there are five Marriott brands that offer free breakfast brand-wide without elite status, but with a catch…
Marriott brands that offer free breakfast without elite status
- Residence Inn
- TownePlace Suites
- Fairfield Inn
- SpringHill Suites
If you go to any of these five brands, you will have free breakfast without being a member of that Marriott. You can book via any third-party online travel agency and still have free breakfast. Most of these brands will offer continental style breakfast, but sometimes they have quality hot items with a good amount of cold items too.
However, all five brands above have one huge exception, properties in the Asia Pacific region can opt-out of the free breakfast for non-elites. That is a huge negative if you are staying at Fairfield Inn Bali and expect to get free breakfast, but you don’t. Nevertheless, as an elite, you will get free breakfast in Asia Pacific properties, but then as an elite you can get free breakfast at many different brands too.
Marriott brands that offer free breakfast with elite status
- AC Hotels by Marriott
- Autograph Collection Hotels
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott
- Four Points by Sheraton
- JW Marriott
- Le Meridien
- Marriott Hotels
- Moxy Hotels
- Protea Hotels
- Renaissance Hotels
- Residence Inn by Marriott
- Springhill Suites by Marriott
- St. Regis
- The Luxury Collection
- TownePlace Suites by Marriott
I should also note, some of these brands will differ between regions for elite breakfast. For example, brands like JW only need to offer free breakfast in the club lounge, but some JW properties will offer breakfast in both the main restaurant and club lounge. So, your mileage may vary between properties and especially between regions.
You may have also noticed that some brands don’t offer breakfast. Brands like Edition and Ritz-Carlton don’t need to give elites breakfast. So, be aware of the brands you might stay at as elite benefits aren’t the same at all Marriott properties.
If you aren’t an elite, some of these brands might offer free breakfast as part of the standard room rate. For example, the St. Regis Bali includes breakfast with every rate booked at the hotel.
With 777 Hyatt properties worldwide, you’re rather limited for choices. However, Hyatt has a solid portfolio that performs well worldwide with a few brands offering free breakfast.
Hyatt brands that offer free breakfast without elite status
- Hyatt Place (must book directly through Hyatt as a member)
- Hyatt House
- Hyatt Zilara/Ziva
- Small Luxury Hotels and Resorts (must book directly through Hyatt as a member)
All four offer free breakfast worldwide, but Hyatt Place has one exception. You must book directly through the Hyatt website, app, or call center as a member (don’t need elite status) to have free breakfast included in at Hyatt Place properties.
Hyatt House, Hyatt Zilara/Zara, and Small Luxury Hotels and Resorts have no such exception. So, you can book however you want and get free breakfast.
Hyatt brands that offer free breakfast with elite status
- Park Hyatt
- Grand Hyatt
- Hyatt Regency
- Hyatt Zilara/Ziva
- Hyatt Place
- Hyatt House
- Hyatt Centric
- The Unbound Collection
- Joie de Vivre
- Small Luxury Hotels and Resorts
Hyatt has a more standardized breakfast policy for Globalists. If you’re a Globalist you get breakfast in either the club lounge and/or main restaurant. You will not have to worry about region-specific rules that limit breakfast.
So, compared to Marriott there is consistency with the breakfast policy with Marriott. The only brands you don’t get breakfast at would be Miraval and Residence Club properties.
With 5,757 hotels worldwide, you will not have a hard time finding a Hilton property in the country you visit. Out of the 17 Hilton brands, there are six that offer free breakfast in every one of their properties in the respective brand for any guest.
Hilton brands that offer free breakfast without elite status
- Embassy Suites
- Hampton Inn
- Homewood Suites
- Home2 Suites
Hilton has a huge collection of brands that have free breakfast for all guests. What is great about these six brands is the price point variance. If you don’t want to stay in a basic Hampton Inn, you can stay at a Canopy or Tru property that offers a more trendy feel.
Hilton brands that offer free breakfast with elite status
- Embassy Suites
- Hampton Inn
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Home2 Suites
- Homewood Suites
- Tapestry Collection
- Waldorf Astoria
If you are a Gold or Diamond member with Hilton, you are given free continental breakfast at all Hilton brands besides Grand Vacation properties. As it’s continental breakfast, Hilton might give you a credit or a basic breakfast spread North America, but other regions like Europe or Asia will offer a full breakfast buffet.
Update: The Hilton free breakfast may be transitioning into a food and beverage credit.
What is great about Hilton is the fact that Gold and Diamond status is super easy to obtain with just holding a credit card. I explain more below what you will need to do.
With 5,723 hotels worldwide, you will not have a hard time finding an IHG property in the country you visit. Out of the 17 IHG brands, there are two that offer free breakfast.
IHG brands that offer free breakfast without elite status
- Holiday Inn Express
- Staybridge Suites
Staying at either Holiday Inn Express or Staybridge Suites you will find continental breakfasts for all, no matter if you’re a member or not. Throughout the world, these properties offer a very consistent breakfast spread. Some might be better than others, like the Holiday Inn Express Jakarta Matraman where the breakfast spread makes some Holiday Inn Suites look weak in comparison.
IHG brands that offer free breakfast with elite status
The IHG loyalty program is weak in regards to elite benefits. Even Spire Elites don’t have breakfast or club lounge access as a benefit. So, if you were an elite staying at an Intercontinental property, you will have to pay for breakfast.
Tip: Adding breakfast as an add-on at booking is cheaper than paying at the property. I have found the base rate for a standard room selling breakfast for $5 a night as an add-on, but buying it at the property was $20. So, you could save some money adding breakfast as an add-on.
9,000 Wyndham properties are worldwide making it one of the biggest hotel chains in the world surpassing its competitors. Out of the 19 brands, there are eight brands that offer free breakfast for any and every guest staying at that branded property.
Wyndham brands that offer free breakfast without elite status
- Baymont Inn & Suites
- Days Inn
- Howard Johnson
- Hawthorn Suites
- La Quinta
- Microtel Inn & Suites
- Super 8
You can find almost one or multiple of these brands in every state across the USA. Some will offer far better breakfast spreads than others, like La Quinta offering a better spread than Days Inn, but a free breakfast is better than no breakfast at all.
Wyndham brands that offer free breakfast with elite status
Wyndham elites cannot get free breakfast outside of the eight properties listed above. Therefore, if you are a road warrior and want free breakfast, Wyndham won’t be ideal.
With 7,005 Choice hotels worldwide, you can easily find value-minded hotels with or without breakfast wherever you go. Choice has six hotel brands that offer free breakfast at every property.
Choice brands that offer free breakfast without elite status
- Comfort Inn
- Comfort Suites
- MainStay Suites
- Quality Inn
- Sleep Inn
No matter if it’s a property in the USA or in Japan, you will have free breakfast included in every room rate for every guest staying in the room.
The breakfast spreads will be ranging from basic to decent. Continental style is a trend of course, but you can find all your major food groups. If you go abroad, Comfort Inn properties in Japan will offer a good spread that tastes decent, plus you can easily find these properties in random smaller cities in Japan.
Choice brands that offer free breakfast with elite status
Choice is no different from Wyndham and IHG loyalty programs. If you have elite status you will not get free breakfast at any other brand besides the ones listed above.
Best Western has 4,100+ properties worldwide with a collection of 13 brands and out of those 13 brands, eight of those brands offer free breakfast for all guests.
Best Western brands that offer free breakfast without elite status
- Best Western
- Best Western Plus
- Best Western Premier*
- BW Signature Collection*
- SureStay Plus
- SureStay Collection
*Some properties might not participate in free breakfast for all guests.
Best Western has a good portfolio of value and midscale brands that offer free breakfast for all guests. No matter if you are in the USA or traveling abroad, you might find it surprising that there is a Best Western property that offers free breakfast for all guests.
Best Western brands that offer free breakfast with elite status
Best Western is no different from Choice, Wyndham, and IHG loyalty programs. If you have elite status you will not get free breakfast at any other brand besides the ones listed above.
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Hotel elite status that includes free breakfast
There are hotel brands that only offer elites free breakfast, along with many other goodies. Here are elite statuses that offer free breakfast to elites.
All elite statuses listed above offer free breakfast in the form of a full buffet, continental, a la carte, or breakfast credit. Each program will have its own rules, but most of them will vary wildly between each property and brand for the quality of breakfast offered.
Luckily, you can achieve elite status with these hotels easily with the help from a few credit cards.
The easiest elite status
Hilton is the easiest program to reach elite status, especially when it’s as easy as holding a credit card to automatically get Diamond or Gold elite status.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
- One weekend night at any hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio (upon opening the account and on account anniversary every year)
- Weekend night after spending $60,000 on the card within a calendar year
- $250 airline incidental fee statement credit
- $250 Hilton resort statement credit
- $100 on-property credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when booking the exclusive Aspire Card package
- Unlimited Priority Pass membership
- 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
- 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants
- 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases
- $450 Annual Fee
Hilton Diamond status as a benefit given to you only by holding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. In fact, Diamond status is Hilton’s best elite status which offers upgrades up to suites, club lounge access, free breakfast, late check-out, and 100% bonus points.
This card is not only handing out elite status, but it’s also handing out an un-capped free weekend night every year, $250 resort credit, $250 airline incidental credit, and Priority Pass membership. These four benefits alone pay for your annual fee plus a little extra.
In my opinion, this card is one of the best credit cards out there. Even if you don’t put spend on it, the card benefits are passive not requiring you to spend on the card unless you want to use the credits basically paying for the annual fee itself.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status
- Spend $40,000 on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status
- Free Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year
- 10 Priority Pass lounge passes a calendar year
- 12X at hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio
- 6X at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations
- 3X on all other eligible purchases
- $95 annual fee
If you think you aren’t going to use those airline credits, resort credits, and free weekend night that is given to you by the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, then the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass is the second-best Hilton card out there.
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass comes with a few benefits that could make the card worthwhile. It comes with Hilton Gold status. Hilton Gold status benefits include free breakfast, room upgrades, free wifi, late check-out, and free bottles of water. While the benefits aren’t crazy good, breakfast is still a benefit that can come in handy.
These two credit cards are not only the only two credit cards that help you achieve elite status. Some might have annual spend milestones that give you a boost to the next elite status tier or even milestones that then automatically give you complimentary elite status.
I suggest reading our article here about the best credit cards for hotel elite status.
- Related: Want to see the updated list of the best hotel credit cards? Click here to check them out!
Other ways to get free breakfast
Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts free breakfast
Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts, also known as Amex FHR, is a program that you can use to receive special perks at over 975 world-class properties all around the world. When you book through Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts, only available for Platinum cardholders, you will receive perks with your booking.
The benefits are very similar (and some are identical) to what you receive as an elite member. Standard benefits would be:
- Noon check-in, when available
- Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Special amenity unique to each property
As you can see, breakfast is included as one of the benefits. So, if you value breakfast, especially ones at luxury hotels, booking through Fine Hotels and Resorts can save you up to $50 for breakfast for one person. So, daily savings could be $100 a day, making Fine Hotels and Resorts a great way to save money on breakfast.
You can read our complete guide for Fine Hotels and Resorts here.
Chase Luxury Hotels and Resorts Collection free breakfast
It’s super similar to Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts, but if you prefer to pay with your Chase Reserve, this program should be on your radar.
When booking through Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection (LHRC), you will have access to over 900 luxury properties around the world that offers you elite-like benefits, such as:
- Daily breakfast for two
- Complimentary Wifi
- Room upgrade
- Early check-in and late check-out
- Special benefit at each property
As you can see the benefits are almost identical to Amex FHR. Again, it can help you save tons of money of breakfast alone, let alone all the other benefits we haven’t really talked about. I suggest comparing both FHR and LHRC.
You can read our complete guide for Luxury Hotels and Resorts Collection here.
Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection free breakfast
Again, super similar to Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts and Chase Luxury Hotels and Resorts Collection, the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection is another program you shouldn’t pass up.
The Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection consists of over 900 hotels around the world and offers you special privileges when you use the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection portal to book your hotel stay.
You get benefits like:
- Best available rate guarantee
- Automatic room upgrade
- Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi
- Complimentary breakfast for two
- $25 food and beverage credit
- VIP guest status
- Late checkout upon request
What makes this program slightly different is the “best available rate guarantee.” If you don’t care about other benefits like a special benefit at each property, you should be using the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection as it will be cheaper than FHR and LHRC. See, FHR and LHRC will sometimes be more expensive than booking direct with the property, this is because of the benefits you receive increases the rate.
Sometimes booking through FHR or LHRC will hold tremendous value, while other time Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection hold greater value. Hence, comparing all three.
You can read our complete guide for the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection here.
For me, breakfast is an important meal of the day, especially at a hotel that offers a multi-room breakfast buffet or à la carte menu. So, I do hope this article helped you with your next stay in the future if you are basing your stay off of breakfast. 🙂
This article was originally published by Steve Smith.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.